vs Small Screen
We ask the questionn, are successful party demos party poopers when they are
replayed in the comfort of your own small screen?
We're considering those demos which look good on a big screen, but maybe
less good on a smaller one? The big beamer at a party tends to be more
forgiving, with a degree of natural anti-aliasing blurring any jaggedness.
By contrast, at home, the smaller screen tends to bring out the finer detail
and better colour missed by the beamer but it also picks out the blemishes.
There is of course the 'party atmosphere demo booster' inside your head,
which makes an average demo look better ;-) It might be a different story in
the cold light of sitting at home, is it still as good the second time
I might add it would be a freezing day in hell if we found a demo that
looked great on a party beamer, but sucked totally at home, or vice versa. A
good demo will tend to stand out, whatever the means used to show it, and a
crap demo can only be prettied-up to a point where it will still fall short!
So how well do the following translate when they are taken home?
We start with the ultimate crowd pleaser demo for the Falcon, 'Lost Blubb'.
It is a classic music video demo begging for a bigscreen. It does go chunky
at home where the limitations of the used video mode are apparent. Then
again, it now has a cool retro appeal.
The chunky pixel tends to be a feature of many newschool demos on the ST,
seeking a speed increase. My suggestion for optimum enjoyment of this one,
is to stand a bit further away from the screen! ;-)
Ewigekeit by Spirits really loved the big screen. At Symp '96, it was a
bigger screen and sited further away than normal. The top notch flame
effects were really mindblowing and survived nicely when translated to a 14
inch Philips tube. A touch of jagginess came to the fore at home on the
vector line parts, and then you noticed the use of system font when it came
to the obnoxious religiousness of the textual parts, but of course, it was
only a 4ktro.
The starkly named Hydroxid Symposium 96 Contribution demo was a rare case
which didn't quite come off properly on the bigscreen. There were some
missing colours which blanked out one of the vector line sequences, I think
it was a problem with blue. But it looked one hundred percent back home.
There is the artful 'Sonoluminescenz', which will blow you away anywhere! I
have an eternal regret that I didn't get to see this one kick off at the
Sili' 97. I remember the tales when it was first shown of coders deciding to
give up there and then! I primarily experienced it as a smallscreen wonder,
but got to see it on a big screen at the 1998 Alt Party.
For the Error in Line '99 party, 'Suretrip' was the classic party demo. We
all seemed to reach a higher state of demo watching cosmic appreciation at
that screening. It was more apparent when back at home that Defjam was using
some very chunky pixels! Strangely enough, the follow-up 'Posh' demo I found
to be better at home, maybe I was watching too critically and looking too
hard for flaws at the party?
The Rumpellammer demo by TNB was fine on the beamer, but was really a
perfect match for the Atari SC1224 colour monitor, where I saw the preview
of it running, and seen to best effect on something like that.
Then there is the notorious 'H demo IV'. It's a bit of fluff, a bit of fun
gone horribly wrong. It was a Pre Milleniun Party release, but I never made
it there, and only ever saw it on the small screen. I assumed its natural
home was on there. Then at Outline'05 I watched it on a beamer, and for some
reason, it really seemed to click! A lot of red wine might have been
The 'Hmmm' demo, was impressive on the big screen, mainly due to the wowness
factor of being such a groundbreaking production. It was also at home on the
small one. There were lots of nice details that you need a second (and
further) viewings to pick up on.
The colours are so wrong, but hopefully not all the detail is lost from this
ultimate Falcon killer demo.
The 'Don't Break the Oath' demo is up there with Lost Blubb as one of the
ultimate crowd pleaser party demos. Its natural home is on a big a projector
The 'Wait' demo by TOYS was slightly overshadowed by the 'big two' releases
from DHS and Escape. On further consideration, it had a good party 'stadium
rock' type atmosphere, aided a lot by the choice of soundtrack, and also
tends to grow on you when you get it back home. It has an extra dither mode,
to try to ease some of the jagginess. It really is a busy production with
lots and lots of diverse 3D and detail which might be missed at the initial
The new wave of French demos for the ST, like 'Oddstuff', 'Illusion', and
'Fantasia' did rock on a beamer, but they work better for me on a small
screen, due to their ornate design and detailed artwork.
Intricate bitmaps and a smallish effects window is one way to avoid chunkiness
'Moving into Darkness' at the third Error in Line party was a real 'wow!'
demo on the big screen, but of course you could tell better it was an ST-
based demo back at home. Not that there is anything wrong with that of
Finally, to conclude this small article, there is the latest release from
Paradox, 'Pacemaker'. I saw it at the Outline '05 party. It was fine there,
but definitely better at home. There were lots of intricate patterned
effects better appreciated with a close-up study on small screen. Here are
some which I would have loved to have seen first on a bigscreen but didn't!
There was 'Dream Dimension', an fpu-baiting tunnel frenzy by DHS. This would
have blown any late nineties party away, and could have even been better
with a special immersive 3D VR headset! C'mon, we need more demos with extra
hardware! In the same vein, what would their Orneta 4k have looked like, as
I only saw that one at home?
Then the lost and found again 'Motion' demo by Aggression. If this had been
completed and shown on a beamer, the perfect craftsmanship would have had
the audience dribbling.
What does the Future hold?
We can hopefully expect a run of grandstanding 'big' 3D worlds and demos,
which happen in a huge demo world with the CT60. Hopefully we will get some
parties to watch them in their natural habitat!
This is the sort of topic which could use another viewpoint, so any
volunteers for the next issue?
CiH for Alive! Mag,Oct '05